November 24, 2013
Earlier this year, the majority of Council approved exploring adding electronic voting to next year’s municipal elections. The report is now out, and Council will make a final decision on Monday evening at a meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
I wrote about my concerns and my electronic voting experience in January after opposing the motion to explore electronic voting. The report from the City Clerk now confirms many of my objections. It has not been shown that electronic voting increases voter turnout, even for our student population. It will also cost an additional $110,000 to add electronic voting for the advanced voting period. (The Clerk’s report begins on page 99 of the Council package)
Council heard back in January that we should do this because we are “an intelligent community” and, as others are already trying it, we should be leaders by trying it too.
I believe that an intelligent community looks carefully at the evidence, takes calculated and appropriate risks when innovating, and spends limited public funds wisely on the right projects.
If our goal is to increase the level of engagement of our community in the political process, I believe we should spend our limited resources on innovative ways to reach out to the public on the critical issues we face on a regular basis. If people are more engaged we will have a higher voter turnout, and without the concerns around coercion, accountability, and transparency I raised about electronic voting in January.
If you’d like to speak to Council on Monday night before it makes a decision on this important issue, there are instructions on our website including an email address where you can file your concerns.